Making A Documentarypresented byThe Journey of Documentary&Atalanti Dionysus
Stages of Making DocumentaryFour stages to making a documentary• Development Stage: developing your idea• Pre production: planning your film• Production: shooting your film• Post Production: editing, pulling all yourassets together, outputting your film
Development Stage• Starts with the STORY IDEA• Make sure you are a passionate about thestory as you will be spending time with it.• Write a SYNOPSIS & OUTLINE of the story(this will help you nut out your idea and let you know where the story is)
PRE PRODUCTION• Think of a creative way to tell the story – start your research.• Hire your crew: Producer, Director, DoP, Lighting, Sound Recording,Researcher, Editor.• Prepare your questions, make sure you cover everything you wantto ask even if you don’t think you will use it.• Contact your interview subjects and arrange to film them.• Make up a shot list of the footage you want to use to tell your story.• Images are powerful, keep your story visual.• Location scouting – where do you want to film the interviews.• Prepare a budget and add in all your costs.• Start creating awareness around your film using social media tools.• Think about what other platforms your film can be told across.
Production• Shooting the interviews – take your time to make sure that yoursubjects are comfortable and at ease• Make sure you audio is clear, use a lapel mic or a shot gun mic• Shooting establishing shots – this will let your audience knowwhere you are at certain points in your story• Shooting cutaway footage – have your subject do something thatthey may be interviewed about and film it without them talking.Eg if the film is about art, they may be painting• Shoot close ups, as close ups tend to put the viewer into the story• Source all your archival footage, videos, images, newspaperarticles, audio recordings, graphics• Source and clear all rights for music• Log everything that has been filmed in a log book, stating date,topic, tape number• Label every tape with a date and topic
Post Production• Transcribing your interviews• The Paper Edit• Writing the Script• The 3 Act Structure• Card Assembly• The Director &Editor Collaboration• Editing & Assets• Editing Prep• Editing – Narration• Editing – Assembly• Editing – Rough Cut• A/V Script Template• Editing – Fine Cut• Editing – Locked Picture
Transcribing your Interviews• A long process but necessary, this will help youidentify useful information by finding the mostinteresting part of the story and save you time• Use a Word documentary set up two columns.– The left hand side should be smaller as this is whereyou note, the tape number, and time code on videofile. The editor will use this time code to locate thefootage during the edit– The right side of the column is wider, this is where thedialogue appears. Every word spoken needs to beincluded. Create a new line after every 3-4minutes ofdialogue or after an obvious break
The Paper Edit• Start reading through your transcripts and highlight the things thatpop up at you• After you’ve highlighted your transcripts you will be able toorganise them into topics or sequences. Eg. Immigration: when didyou first arrive, what was your first job, where did you live, what areyou doing now• On a separate Word document cut and paste the transcript itemsyou have selected into the order of your topics• When you have done that, highlight in another colour or usebrackets to make note of the part of the actual dialogue that youwant to use in the edit. Then number them numerically in order.• Take this into the edit with you and your editor will help refine thecut.
Writing the Script• Most documentaries in essence are not completelyscripted as their purpose is to capture and get aglimpse into real life. This can be done after shooting• Make notes of the main elements, characters, plots,the moments that capture something special• Create Scenes – using the moments you have selectedstart creating scenes that will make up your story• Access your transcribed interviews to help you• If you are using narration, you should start writing itnow• Three Act Structure – Beginning, Middle & End set outyour scenes in this structure
The 3 Act Structure• Beginning:start with a compelling first scene,to capture your audiences attention• The Middle: the main body of the story needsto move the audience on a journey toward theend. Create curiosity, select the scenes thatreally say something.• The Ending: This is your conclusion, by nowyour point should have been made, rap it upby re-instating your point.
Card Assembly• On index cards write down each scene of yourstory• The index cards help you look at the biggerpicture and help you experiment with the content• Your card assembly might be 3 times the size ofyour film, which is okay…for now• Take out anything that is repetitive• Select scenes that say something• By re-arranging your cards you may see adifference story emerge or a better way to tell it
The Editor & Director Collaboration• This is a very important relationship as you will spend alot of time together discussing the best way to makeyour film• Pick an editor who shares your interest in the film andis a good communicator• The director’s role is to clearly communicate theirvision for the film to the editor• Do not give your editor everything you have shot asthis will take them a long time to get through• You can either decide to sit through the entire edit, orleave the editor to edit and come back and sit withthem after a week or so.
Editing & Assets• Give your editor all the material you have atthe highest possible resolution• Images – photographs/newspaper articles canbe scanned and put onto USB• Narrators voice over guide track, if you areusing one, should be provided to the editor• Sounds: music tracks, sounds and effects
Editing PREP• Digitise footage and upload to your system• Name all your clips and organise into bins• Upload all your images and also organise intobins• Upload all your music tracks, sound effectsand organise into bins• BE ORGANISED!
Editing - Narration• Record the narration. Do as many takes asyou need to get it right.• You can always cut in between words if youkeep fumbling, as long as its done in the onesitting.• This allows for ambience and tone of voice tobe the shame.
Editing - Assembly• The assembly edit replicates your index cardassembly in some way.• Your assembly edit is your first look at yourfilm in its rawness.• It allows you to see what scenes work andwhat scenes don’t.• Which characters to drop and which to keep.• Do not include narration, or sound effects,music or supers at this point.
Editing – Rough Cut• The rough cut may include narration andcutaways, but will still need fine tuning.• The rough cut should be the duration that yourfilm will finally be.• The rough cut is used to screen during audiencetestings, and gives you an idea of whether or notthe film is working.• The rough cut also lets you determine whetheryou require a pick up shoot or more interviews.
A/V Script Template• The A/V (audio, visual) script template will help you matchyour visuals to your audio and can be created at rough cut– Using Word, set up a page with two columns– The left side of the page should be titled: VIDEO this is where youscript your images, supers, graphics– The right side of the page should be titled: AUDIO this where youmatch up your narrative characters dialogue to your images.• Keep the script simple, so that anyone can follow the story• Be clear and concise with what you are trying to say• Be creative in the way you are telling the story• Images alone with a music track can sometimes speakvolume. Images can include photographs, newspaperclippings, video.
Editing – Fine Cut• The films structure is now in place• Make sure everything you want is in the film• You can include the films title• You can add the credits• And finely cut the film to perfection
Editing – Locked Picture• The Locked picture means that you can nolonger edit the video aspects or change thetimeline of your film.• At the locked picture stage you will add yourmusic, final narration recording, graphics anddo a final sound effects and sweetening on theentire film.• Master copy can now be outputted torequired formats.